My Mediation Process

Once you schedule your first mediation session, you should expect each session to last approximately one and a half to two hours. The length is not precisely pre-determined because there is no way to know exactly where we will be as we approach the end of the session. If we are making good progress, or a breakthrough has occurred, I like to keep the momentum going and finish as much of the current topic as we possibly can. That would not be the occasion to hear: "Our time is up for today." This is why I keep the duration of each session flexible, aiming for an hour and a half, but often ending before or after that amount of time.

Appointments are scheduled every other week, sometimes a little more or less frequently. Clients may communicate with me between sessions via telephone or e-mail so long as both spouses are privy to the communication at the time it is made. In other words, all communications should be made simultaneously to your spouse when it is made to me. When I respond to such communications, I respond simultaneously to both spouses. 

The sequence of sessions usually goes as follows:

First Session

If there are children of the marriage, we always begin with them first. I will explain the differences between the custody options under the law, inquire into your thoughts about the best parenting plan for your children, ask about any special needs of the children, and discuss each of your views about what plan would best accommodate them.

If you have no minor children, I will ask you to make a list of what you own, owe and earn.  You don’t need to prepare this list in detail, as that will come after the first session.  You just need a general list of these things along with their  approximate amounts/values to provide an overview from which to start the dialogue. Our first financial discussion will work off that list so that we can discern what each of you thinks and where each of you hopes to end up. DO NOT RESEARCH THIS ON LINE.  I want to know your thoughts on how you view a fair outcome and your wish-list; not some idea you picked up in a chat room or from your friend who was divorced last year.   By learning your thoughts, I gain some insight into where the areas of disagreement are, making it a little easier for me answer the question everyone wants to know when mediation begins.   How long will it take?  [See Frequently Asked Questions.]

Second session and beyond

Once we have resolved the parenting plan, which may require more than one session, we will cover child support, medical insurance for the children, and life insurance to protect the child support. 

If you have no minor children, we will begin to analyze the financial data with which you have been providing me from the beginning. We will do a comprehensive analysis of assets and liabilities, discussing how each of you views a fair settlement, and the legal parameters for it. This is usually the time when we would address the marital residence and how it should be handled. We will address whether your case is an appropriate one for spousal support, and if it is, for how long it should continue, and what amount should be paid. (Alimony is gender neutral, so it will be considered from the perspective of both spouses needing/paying it.)

During the next several sessions—or more—we will look at every single piece of your financial picture, from bank accounts, to real estate, to retirement accounts, to pensions, to stock portfolios, to patents, to family owned businesses, to automobiles, to household valuables, and more. We will also look at credit card debt, car loans and leases, and all other liabilities. In other words, there is nothing that is covered and addressed in a litigated divorce case that is not covered and addressed in a mediated divorce case.

Home-stretch session

If you have asked me to draft your Separation Agreement, there will be a session in which we will review it together online. Once you have approved it, the final draft will be emailed to each of your review counsel and you will be asked to schedule an appointment with him or her for a review and analysis. 

The last session

In this day and age of Cornovirus, the courts are not entertaining divorce cases in person. You will not go to court. Instead, there are documents that have been created to take the place of your attendance in court that accompany other documents that existed prior to the virus.  These documents are recommended to be e-filed as opposed to snail mailed. E-filing is a process that may be intimidating for some people who have not done it before.  If you have mediated your divorce with me, I will guide you through this e-filing process so that you are not left to navigate this process on your own. This session is conducted by telephone - as your computers will be needed for the purpose of e-filing - and, if you are my mediation clients - there will be no charge for the time it takes to conduct this guided tour of the e-filing process and getting your papers filed with the court.  

What you can expect

Besides the sequence of topics covered above, you can also expect the following services and promises from me:

  • You can expect my full attention, my concern for you and your children, my awareness of what you are going through, and the best written documents I can prepare for you.
  • You can expect to have your phone calls returned promptly and your emails answered quickly.
  • You can expect my knowledge on the law to be current, and you can expect my honesty if there is something I don't know and need to look up before I can give you an answer.
  • You can expect that I will not do anything that deliberately stalls the progress of your case, and will do everything in my power to move you swiftly and cost-effectively to the final agreement that becomes the basis of your Separation Agreement.
  • You can expect me to guide you away from any discussions that will necessarily lead to an unfair result, that if left unchecked and unchallenged, would simply cost more time and money to re-negotiate once the inevitable unfairness or illegality was exposed.
  • You can expect that no unfair agreement will ever be written by me or released from my office, even if that means no agreement is written or released at all.
  • You can expect privacy and confidentiality, as best as it can be provided using the video-conferencing platforms that are not in my control.  Each video session will be locked and only platforms with a track record for privacy protections will be used.  
  • You can expect that no agreement will be reached in my mediation by one spouse bullying, intimidating, or threatening the other.  Shouting and name-calling are not tolerated, and such behavior could result in the termination of mediation. 
  • You can expect that each of you will like—and dislike—different parts of the compromise you reach in my office; but you can also expect that you will both agree it is fair.

You can also expect that I will never lose sight of the emotional context that necessarily comes with divorce.  Whether it is a short marriage that was tumultuous from the start, but resulted in some financial wrinkles that need to be ironed out; or a longer marriage that brought children into the world; or a gay or Lesbian marriage - with or without children - that has found itself facing the same “irretrievable breakdown” as so many other marriages have found before it; or a lifelong marriage where one partner is looking for a different end-of-life path after half a century of marriage to one partner; everyone - each and every one - is entering the divorce process in some state of emotional uncertainty, pain or upheaval. Or all three.  I never forget that fact.  It is always with that fact in mind, and within that context, that I try to educate and guide my clients to the best agreement possible for them; one that is right for their particular situation; one that is fair to both sides; one that is legal; one that will continue to serve them for many years long after the divorce is over; and one which will satisfy the Court.  

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Areas in Connecticut Serviced by The Firm

Serving New Haven County, including Woodbridge, Guilford, Madison, Cheshire, Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Branford, Derby, East Haven, Hamden, Meriden, Middlebury, Milford, Naugatuck, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, Oxford, Prospect, Seymour, Southbury, Wallingford, Waterbury, West Haven, Wolcott, New Haven and the surrounding communities. Also serving Fairfield County, including Danbury, Easton, Westport, Weston, Fairfield, Bridgeport, Ridgefield, Redding, Newtown, New Fairfield, Sherman, Shelton, Trumbull, Brookfield, and Monroe.

    The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.
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